Thursday, 5 May 2016

A week on Un-Cruise: Pacific Northwest

Mum is here! It is wonderful to have Mum back in Vancouver.

She arrived 3 weeks ago and albeit very jet lagged arrived in one piece. Her arrival wasn't totally smooth as when I went to meet her at my place, we thought we had got all the bags out of the taxi...then just as the taxi took off she said "I don't have all my bags!" So there I am, running after the taxi, yelling "wait! wait!" Luckily he heard me and pulled over. We searched through the cab and nothing was there. Turns out I was carrying the bag the whole time!!!

I took a week off work (which was lovely) to do a cruise in the Pacific North West. The cruise started in Seattle so we thought instead of taking a bus or plane, we would take the train instead. We had heard the views on the way were really lovely and it's absolutely true! The train goes right along the coast line. We arrived safely in Seattle, checked into our hotel and then wandered around the city.

I don't know how to sum up the week except to say it was awesome!!! There were about 35 passengers and 28 crew so we got to know everyone on the ship. We were the only Aussies...everyone else was American! Also I was the youngest passenger but a lot of the crew were around my age. We met some lovely people and now have contacts in California, Oregon, Texas and South Carolina.

Highlights of the trip:
  • Seeing orcas! I have seen oracs in the wild before but that was on the BC ferry to Victoria and they were miles away. During the trip we saw them at 3 different times. It was breathtaking. We saw one of them spyhop! That was absolutely amazing. Luckily one of the keen photographers caught it on camera.

  • Hiking! I didn't realise this trip would be so active and did not pack entirely appropriately. However, I ended up doing 4 hikes all of varying lengths. It was great as generally the same people went on the hikes so we got to know each other really well.
  • Snorkelling! Yes, I went snorkelling. The water temperature would have been about 10 degrees C. We donned thick wetsuits, hoods, boots and gloves. Getting in the water was a shock to the system as the water fills your wetsuit but then it warms to your body temperature keeping you warm (ish). We spent about 45 minutes in the water. It was really murky but we saw these cool little see through jelly fish called ghost jellyfish, lots of crabs, spiky sea cucumbers and star fish. Great experience. Definitely keen to get my dry suit training for scuba diving as it's so different to tropical snorkelling/diving.
  • Food! The food was amazing. We had a 3 course dinner every night, buffet breakfast and either a buffet or packed lunch if we had day activities. Every meal was delicious and we also got to know the waitstaff really well. It was great as we also sat with different people every night.
  • Kayaking! I think I've been kayaking once before. So Mum and I decided to try kayaking 101. We were quite ok at it and there weren't too many arguments. It was a really nice kayak with pedals to steer the direction of the boat. After about an hour long lesson/getting used to it, Mum and I went kayaking another 2 or 3 times and really enjoyed it!
  • Weather! We were prepared for cold wet weather, but it was sunny and hot for the whole week. Amazing!
I would definitely recommend Un-Cruise. Although more expensive than other cruises we really enjoyed the smaller group aspect of it and getting to know everyone. We're going on another one in November for Mum's birthday to Hawaii. Can't wait!

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